“The World is at your finger tips” I am sure we have all heard this saying before! Am I right? My question is how do you think the world can be at your finger tips? A college degree, Your dream Job. The biggest and nicest house in town, Money? I feel like many would say money, which would help one achieve the materialistic desires one might have. Is money what we value? Is money what we really need? These are all the questions that have been running through my head regarding our economy and our culture in regards to sustainable design and I believe I just might have found the answers.
Today our world seems to be constantly hypnotized into the new latest and greatest products out in the market. Whether that be a new phone, a new pair of hip jeans, the new couch that everyone must have to make any room complete, consumers are repeatedly needing and wanting something new and something better. This would not be a concern if it were not for the speed at which consumers want is turning over. Every season there are new clothes to buy and old ones to throw out, there are new color pallets and decorative house sets to update your home, what you have is never good enough for the present and therefore items are being thrown into the past at an unhealthy rate and in most cases an unhealthy way. In result this is causing harm to the Earth. So what value does the new and improved value really hold to us and is this the right kind of value we should be valuing? The hard cold answer is simply no.
What we should be valuing is the planet on which we are trying to sustain our lives on. To understand this we need to understand our needs as human beings/consumers. According to Ann Thorpe, in her book The Designer’s Atlas of Sustainability, Physical survival, communication with others, creating survival and having a sense of self are the needs humans have. “Among the many different categorizations of human needs, a representative list includes substance, protection, affection, understanding participation, leisure, creation, identity, and freedom.” The most important thing to understand is that all of these need promote well-being which as established in the previous two weeks is what sustainability promotes as well. There is a common and natural link to human needs and sustainable practices. Our needs are apart of our culture and culture is apart of nature. “...Nature provides an Important element of cultural sustainability.” So if your are catching my drift in order to fulfill our human needs we have to keep nature (aka the Earth) in tip top shape and because we need to do this through sustainable practices we should find our true value in the place we call our home.
Sadly our world has gone down a path in which unsustainable practices are demolishing our ecosystems. The market is not concerned about this one bit and this is mostly because the conditions brought on by all the products sold and made in the market are basically ignored. This can be understood through the concept of zero price. Ann Thorpe explains this by stating that because we do not pay money to use the ecosystems we are provided by nature, nature then has no value. With nature being seen as having no monetary value, prices of products do not reflect the value of nature. This is why sustainable products become so expensive. If the positive value we contributed towards the decision of pricing of a sustainable product, the price of that product would probable decrease. If it did not decrease at least the value of a sustainable product would be obviously increased. This applies to the situation when looking at it vise versa as well. “,,,yet the market counts these as “free” because we don't pay money for them. Nature also has value for reasons other than being useful to people- like all life-forms, it has intrinsic value, meaning value for just existing.” Efforts have been made to change the views of sustainable products as they are associated with high prices. One method is artificial prices, this is when consumers are asked how much they would be willing to pay to sustain nature, counting in the value nature has for that particular product. Another method that could be used is “democratic process and other collective decision-making methods available largely through public and nonprofit organizations”(Thorpe) I was not able to find any information about current companies in the interiors field that have tried either one of these methods but I think that through studies these practices might be an effective way to determine some product prices.
I was able to find several companies and firms that are contributing to nature and holding high value in their sustainable practices. The video and website links are just are just some of the companies I found that are striving to be green.
Websites for sustainable Interior design Company links:
The moral of the story here today is to really take a look at what you hold dear and valuable. Are these things what you should be valuing? The one thing we should value greatly is our planet on which we live and to do that we need to respect nature and give back through sustainable designs and practices. Doing this will help man kind fulfill our needs to continue on with our lives. The world needs a change and for changes to be of any true value, they've got to be lasting and consistent.